About this blog

About this blog

Darren had Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in 1996. Since recovering from cancer, Darren is now married and continuing with life, with a few tips for children currently going through treatment. Blogs written by Darren

  • Patient Name: Darren
  • Cancer Type: Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
  • Age when diagnosed: 11

What should nurses say to you when you have childhood cancer?

8th November 2019

Emily: Hello I have a question for Darren. As a paeds nurse I would be interested to know if Darren would have wished the nurses who cared for him did certain things or had conversations with him that he wanted? What do you wish people had said and didn’t for example? Thank you. And well done for beating cancer! Hi Emily, I was lucky enough to have a brilliant group of nurses around me, who not only did an amazing job but also were always there for a chat and a laugh. Below are a few things that stood out to me as things that nurses did that I really liked…

Being a teacher and being a mate

I think nurses need a balance between being a teacher and being a mate. I always appreciated this. I had times when I got a bit of a kick up the backside when it came to taking certain drugs (in my case it was liquid potassium), but equally they understood that when I was having a down day and wasn’t trying to be difficult. It is days like that when they found the time to sit on the bed and just talk. I can tell you the names of those nurses that got that balance absolutely spot on as I remember them to this day.

Saying how I really felt

Grown up, I know how difficult it must be for nurses just to put down everything for 30 minutes and talk about football, TV or something else to the kids, but I know how that time is so important. I remember many times when the conversation started about something seemingly trivial but I was then gently coaxed into saying how I really felt. At the time it frustrated me that they could get what was the matter out of me in that way (especially if I was being stubborn) but now I appreciate it so much.

Feeling in charge

The only other thing I would say is for kids my age at the time (12, 13 and older) do see themselves as adults and wanted to be treated as such. I remember times when doctors were talking to my parents in their rounds and me thinking “hey it is happening to me you know”. So I think a nurse should understand that at that age, especially when it comes to explaining treatment, that they should be treated as an adult in that respect. I wanted it to be explained thoroughly. There were times when I wanted to just go back to “kid mode” but I also remember wanting to be the one in charge when it came to knowing about what was going on. I am sure you are doing a great job Emily and thank you for all you do! This blog was written by Darren, who is a childhood cancer survivor, after having Acute Myeloid Luekaemia when he was 11 in 1996. If you know a child who is going through childhood cancer treatment, let them know that Darren is willing to answer questions like this one. Contact us at stories@childrenwithcancer.org.uk so that we can put forward the questions to him.
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